Manage performance and energy, not time

Shift your approach to time management. Stop obsessing about to-do lists and start building a platform for sustained success. Put this building block in place before you revisit anything to do with time management.

This tool will help you feel more in control of doing everything you need to get done!

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What will it do?

This tool will help you feel more in control of doing everything you need to get done!

Use it up to 6 times a year to keep in control of performance, energy and success. Put some dates in your diary now – a 45 minute appointment with yourself should be enough.

Over time and with commitment, you’ll find the best ways of using this approach to build the essential foundation for your effectiveness at work.

Three steps to take

Get focused on the things that will make the most impact for you

1. Decide whether you’re going to plan 4, 8 or 12 months in advance

Get yourself a calendar (wall planner if you like real things, or computer/mobile calendar if that works for you). Your first job is to plot key events, deadlines and things to be delivered over the time period you’ve chosen. This is you putting some finish lines on the calendar or some key ‘fixtures’ that you know will be key to you being successful in your role.

These things that go on the calendar are the most important things for your success – the things that you’re doing which are mission critical for you, your team and your organisation.

As you look at the big-ticket items going into the calendar, what’s this telling you about how much energy you’re going to need over the next 2, 4, 6 weeks etc. to keep focused on doing the right things, with the right quality? As you get a feel for the energy required, you can start thinking about what you can do to help keep the energy high.

(Remember the ‘Build your energy for work’ & ‘Manage your performance, not time‘ kitbags will help here too)

2. Now it’s time to add in some detail

With the calendar starting to give you some understanding of the energy demands required for you to be successful, we need to add in some more detail now. For each event there are going to be some regular tasks you’re going to need to be doing consistently so that you’re building the foundation of success. And for you to be doing those tasks regularly, these are going to be key skills and knowledge that you’ll have to be using. So, what we need to do is get to grips with the repeat activities to make sure you’re ready to do the things that need to be done… with discipline.

Use the table below to give yourself the detail to manage your performance, as well as target your energy.

This will help you build your plan (and see how much you improve in the future). A score of 1 means the statement isn’t you. A score of 10 means the statement describes you perfectly.

Key Event, Deadline or Result Tasks I need to repeat. Skill / Knowledge I need to use (how often will the tasks be repeated & when?)
Task                                     Skill / Knowledge

As you’re working out the frequency of repeated tasks and the core skills and knowledge that you’ll be using, make sure you’re getting a clear picture of what this means for daily and weekly habits you’ll need to practice. Also make sure that you’re using this to see how your performance and success builds up over time. Experience tells us that you should also be getting an increased sense of control and confidence as you see that when it comes to doing what needs to get done, you’ve got what it takes.

3. Start using the calendar to stay focused

The calendar should be taking shape for you, so now you can start using the calendar to stay focused on being in control and delivering with confidence, one day at a time. Every day, ask yourself “Where do I focus right now to deliver success?” Using the calendar, you’ll select where to focus your attention when it comes to delivering on the regular tasks that you set out. Use the energy and confidence you’re developing to put another building block in place. Each day you deliver a good performance, record it so that you’re keeping track of the positive momentum you’re creating. Recording successful progress is a key ingredient in this simple approach.

Your plan

Get a plan Stan. The basics you need to have in your plan are set out below.

Plan basics

  1. What are you going to do? This bit is easy – it’s the 3 steps listed above. No 3 is particularly helpful here

    My actions:

  2. When are you going to start? You don’t have to be great to get going, but you better get going if you want to be great.

    My start date:

  3. How often will you be repeating steps 1 and 2? Getting great has a lot to do with making things a habit.

    Check in dates:

Get serious

The difference between having a plan and making it work is about action. So get this in your diary now. Tell the people who need to know so that they can support you and won’t just think you’re being weird. Do it now.

Remember, it’s progress not perfection. You’re looking for gradual improvement, not for Rome to be built in a day.